[Marxism] Non-subscribers on the Heinrich discussion
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Feb 17 17:31:21 MST 2013
More from S.Artesian:
"I am happy to accept Artesians points as they amount to a mere
relabeling of what I say without change of semantic content. I am using
the word value as synonymous with the time society must expend to
purchase things from nature. When he says value I would say exchange
value, this is a difference in terms without significance. Artesian
accepts that abstract socially necessary labour is something that exists
outside of the commodity exchange relation."
is (unintentionally?) hilarious. He's a clever one, that Cockshott,
calling a substantive difference a "mere relabeling" as if the
difference between wage-labor, labor-power as a commodity, labor-power
as value-producing, labor-power as bought and sold for purposes of
accumulation, and the labor process as a free association of producers,
the labor process as the satisfaction and enhancement of needs and
abilities in the very acts of production is merely a difference of
Of course, socially necessary labor exists outside the commodity
relation. Socially necessary labor yielding value, creating a
hierarchy of value, “more valuable” “less valuable” does not exist
outside the commodity exchange relation.
Cockshott uses the word “value” as synonymous with the time society must
expend to “purchase” things from nature because he cannot imagine any
other relation save the value relation, where labor is performed by a
specific class under specific social relations for the specific purpose
of accumulation. In doing this, Cockshott completely ignores, or
rejects, the basis for Marx’s analysis of the labor process under
capitalism:—that capital, value is a historically specific relation,
organization of production, and that specific relation, of necessity
must be abolished. The “socially necessary labor” that exists under
capitalism, is the socially necessary alienated labor, is the alienated
expression of socially necessary labor where it, like use-value, is in
fact circumscribed, deformed by exchange value, by the value form. Now
for periods, for some durations, the “socially necessary labor” under
capitalism may in fact coincide with meeting the needs of/for the
reproduction of the society. And necessarily, there comes that point
when the “socially necessary labor” under capitalism, cannot, must not.
“Socially necessary labor” under capitalism is the mechanism for
distributing value, profit. It is not the basis for meeting the needs
of society. Cockshott’s argument shares the same (mis) conceptions as
(other) social-democratic/reformist/cross-class alliance
“economics”—that because all societies confront the distribution of
labor power across the spectrum of production to sustain themselves as
societies, then the real solution to the problem reduces itself
to.......the more equitable distribution of the products of the labor
process, ignoring that these products are in fact commodities, and as
such the production process is all about reproducing the class relations
of the society.
In Cockshott’s schema, there is no need for abolition of value; no need
for the abolition of capital; no need for the proletariat to abolish the
condition of labor as the vector for exchange. And as a consequence of
this........then many things can qualify as socialism. Stalin’s 5 year
plans? Socialism. The Terror of the 1930s? Necessary to socialism.
Mao? Socialism. British Rail prior to the privatization? Socialism.
Britain, after WW2 and before... Heath? About 1/3 socialist. The
National Health Service? Socialism.
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